Ocean plastic pollution – what role can social science play?

29 November 2017

IDS is partnering with the EU, UN, Chatham House and other organisations to host a high level side event on circular economy solutions to tackling ocean plastic pollution, during this year’s United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi (4-6 December). The event will showcase specific examples of collaborative action and policies that aim to reduce plastic waste, address unsustainable consumption and production patterns and redirect investment for a clean, efficient and circular economy. Ahead of the event, I want to highlight the importance of a universal development approach and transformative social science research, as solutions to the ocean plastics problem.

A large sculpture of a shark made out of plastic waste found in the ocean.

Ocean plastics pollution – not just an environmental issue

Plastics pollution of oceans has emerged as a major global environmental crisis. Between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastics enter the ocean each year. It is devastating for marine ecosystems and the accumulation of microplastics in food chains pose a risk to human health. And the issue is becoming more serious.  By 2050, plastics production is expected to increase to over 2000 tonnes per year, up from 311 million tonnes in 2014.

Plastics end up in the ocean as the result of chains of human activities in different parts of the world. We are all contributing to it. China, Indonesia and the Philippines have been identified as the top three sources of ocean plastics pollution by the Ocean Conservancy. While litter found on the sea floor around the UK has risen 150% in the last year and UK plastic waste drifts to the artic where is has a very damaging impact on one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world.

Continue reading “Ocean plastic pollution – what role can social science play?”


Ministry suggests community-based environmental monitoring for papermaker

vietnamnews Update: October, 20/2017 – 12:40

Lee & Man Vietnam Ltd.’s waste water treatment system. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has suggested Ministry suggests community-based environmental monitoring for the papermaker. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khương

HÀ NỘI – The Mekong Delta province of Hậu Giang has been urged to establish a community-based monitoring mechanism to evaluate papermaker Lee & Man Vietnam Ltd.’s environmental treatment.During a visit to the company’s paper mill on Thursday, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Trần Hồng Hà, asked the papermaker to complete a standard procedure for management and operation of its waste treatment, and to keep daily records of materials used for environmental treatment and to publicise them. Continue reading “Ministry suggests community-based environmental monitoring for papermaker”

How environmental pollution is ruining the Mekong Delta

Last update 16:59 | 23/09/2017

The Mekong Delta is a land carpeted in endless shades of greens, a magical water world that is being destroyed by climate change and environmental pollution, says the Vietnam Environment Administration.

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Some 20 million people call the Mekong Delta home, and 60 million are dependent on the natural environment of river system for their livelihoods, says the Environment Administration. Continue reading “How environmental pollution is ruining the Mekong Delta”

Hanoi to generate electricity from city’s biggest landfill


A methane gas treatment plant will produce electricity from the decomposing garbage

By Tuoi Tre News

September 13, 2017, 12:32 GMT+7

​Hanoi to generate electricity from city’s biggest landfill
Garbage are dumped on a street in Hanoi.
Two Vietnamese firms and their South Korean partners have closed a deal on a project that will generate electricity from the largest landfill in Hanoi.The two parties will cooperate in designing, constructing, financing and operating a facility that will gather, process, and treat methane gas emitted from decomposing garbage to produce electricity, according to the agreement signed in Hanoi on Tuesday. Continue reading “Hanoi to generate electricity from city’s biggest landfill”

Dire need for waste treatment in Hà Nội


Update: September, 13/2017 – 09:00

Untreated wastewater discharged from the Triều Khúc plastic craft village in the capital city into ponds, rivers and canals. About 1,350 craft villages in the city are discharging a total amount of 156,000cu.m of wastewater per day into the environment. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Nghĩa
Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI — The chairman of the People’s Committee of Hà Nội, Nguyễn Đức Chung, has asked the Department of Construction to enhance supervision of waste collection units, warning that officials failing to do so would be suspended.

He was speaking at a session on waste collection, solid waste treatment, medical waste and lake management yesterday in Hà Nội, saying these problems had annoyed local residents for a long time. Continue reading “Dire need for waste treatment in Hà Nội”

HCM City to fund sorting of rubbish


Update: September, 08/2017 – 09:00

Pre-treatment garbage classification in HCM City. — Photo ecc-hcm.gov.vn
Viet Nam News HCM CITY — Every commune or ward in HCM City will be allocated VNĐ500 million (US$22,000) this year towards addressing a funding shortage for sorting waste before it is treated.

The municipal Department of Finance has said the allocation will be increased to VNĐ1 billion at the beginning of next year. Continue reading “HCM City to fund sorting of rubbish”

Southern region landfill overflows


Update: September, 05/2017 – 21:00

Bưng Riềng landfill is covered with unprocessed garbage creating serious pollution. – VNS Photo: Thanhnien.vn

BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU – After five years of operation, the Bưng Riềng landfill in Xuyên Mộc District has started leaking wastewater and spreading foul smells in the southern province.

The landfill is overloaded with about 22sq.m of unprocessed garbage, according to a report by the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Some indicators of COD, BOD5 or nitrite have exceeded allowed limits by 2.8 to 13.7 times. Continue reading “Southern region landfill overflows”

Company caught burying untreated waste without permit in Ho Chi Minh City – Mùn trồng cây’ của Tâm Sinh Nghĩa lổn nhổn nilông, dép nhựa

Company caught burying untreated waste without permit in Ho Chi Minh City


The general director of the firm has claimed that it was ‘a mistake’ by his employees
By Tuoi Tre News

August 30,2017, 13:45 GMT+7

​Company caught burying untreated waste without permit in Ho Chi Minh City
The solid waste treatment plant operated by Tam Sinh Nghia Investment Development JSC in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A company in Ho Chi Minh City has raised serious concerns after being caught burying a large amount of untreated garbage without permission from authorities.A recent probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper has revealed that Tam Sinh Nghia Investment Development JSC has been burying solid waste in an area within the Phuoc Hiep waste treatment complex in Cu Chi District, about 100 meters away from the company’s headquarters. Continue reading “Company caught burying untreated waste without permit in Ho Chi Minh City – Mùn trồng cây’ của Tâm Sinh Nghĩa lổn nhổn nilông, dép nhựa”

Southern hospital doesn’t believe in wasting waste


Update: August, 18/2017 – 09:00

Green trees at Giá Rai General Hospital in the southern province of Bạc Liêu. — Photo dantri.com.vn

HÀ NỘI — At 5pm Giá Rai General Hospital in the southern province of Bạc Liêu starts to get crowded, not only with patients but also with visitors who come here for a stroll.

Without a hint of nervousness on her face, Nguyễn Thị Kim Thu, 30, leisurely walks her daughter around the hospital’s campus. Skipping and talking non-stop after playing at the vegetable garden, Thu’s daughter asks her to take her to a small fish pond located at the back of the hospital, near the medical wastewater treatment zone. Continue reading “Southern hospital doesn’t believe in wasting waste”

Will the mountain of nix particles in Khanh Hoa be cleared?

Last update 07:10 | 01/08/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Scientists are concerned about the nix particle treatment solution planned by Hyundai Vinashin (HVS), saying that the particles may be dispersed in the air during transportation. 

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HVS, the Khanh Hoa-based shipbuilding yard, has signed a contract with three companies on carrying nix particles (copper slag) out of Khanh Hoa province to be provided to factories which will use the particles as additives in cement manufacturing. Continue reading “Will the mountain of nix particles in Khanh Hoa be cleared?”

Bốn nước châu Á hứa dọn rác nhựa trên biển

08/06/2017 08:31 GMT+7

TTO – Tại hội nghị thượng đỉnh về đại dương do Liên Hiệp Quốc lần đầu tổ chức, các đại biểu đến từ Trung Quốc, Thái Lan, Indonesia và Philippines cho biết họ sẽ cố dọn sạch rác nhựa trên biển.

Bốn nước châu Á hứa dọn rác nhựa trên biển
Mỗi năm có 5-13 triệu tấn rác thải nhựa từ các con sông đổ vào các đại dương – Ảnh: GETTY IMAGES

Theo BBC, các quan chức Liên Hiệp Quốc đã ca ngợi cam kết của bốn nước, dù một số cam kết chưa được chính thức hóa và các giải pháp mà họ đề xuất không được các nhà môi trường đánh giá cao. Continue reading “Bốn nước châu Á hứa dọn rác nhựa trên biển”

Ha Tinh residents block access to overflowing landfill

Last update 16:15 | 16/06/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Residents of Huong Khe Town in Ha Tinh Province have blocked garbage trucks’ access to the local landfill for the past 10 days, to protest the use of the overflowing dump.

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Uncollected trash piled on in the Son Market, Huong Khe Town, Huong Khe District in the central province of Ha Tinh. 

The protest has led to waste accumulation in the area, and all waste treatment activities have come to a halt, worsening the already bad situation in Huong Khe District. Continue reading “Ha Tinh residents block access to overflowing landfill”

Hà Nội inagurates first waste-to-energy plant


Update: April, 24/2017 – 18:45

The NEDO Factory, the first industrial waste-to-energy facility, is considered a pioneering project of Việt Nam’s industrial waste treatment industry.—VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Khánh

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội on Monday inaugurated its first industrial waste-to-energy (WtE) facility in Nam Sơn Waste Treatment Complex, supplying electricity to the national power grid.The plant, the first of its kind in Việt Nam, completed its first production batch of 1.93MW of electricity on March 16, of which 1.2 MW was successfully connected to the national power grid. The remaining power was used for the factory’s production. Continue reading “Hà Nội inagurates first waste-to-energy plant”

Shrimp waste used to make animal feed, biological derivatives

Last update 10:15 | 16/02/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Shrimp waste – heads and shells – are being used to produce animal feed and biological derivatives, resulting in high profits and a reduction of air pollution at processing plants. 

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Six years ago in Ca Mau province, the ‘metropolis’ of the aquaculture and seafood processing industry, shrimp shells discharged from processing were in piles as high as a mountain.

Every day, Minh Phu Seafood JSC threw away 50-100 tons of shrimp heads and shells. The mountain of shrimp waste produced a bad odor after being exposed to the sun and rain.

This prompted Hoang Viet Tung, a member of the board of directors of VNF, to draw up a plan to take advantage of the waste. He signed contracts with large seafood companies on buying shrimp waste from them.

VNF collects more than 100 tons of waste products every day. The company undertakes all the steps of the waste collection process to ensure quality and hygiene of the waste.

Shrimp waste – heads and shells – are being used to produce animal feed and biological derivatives, resulting in high profits and a reduction of air pollution at processing plants

In the past, shrimp heads and shells thrown on the ground contained impurities. Now, VNF sets up conveyor belts to put shrimp waste into tanks.

With the belts, VNF can collect shrimp heads and shells just 30 minutes after the waste is split from seafood processing factories. The biggest value is that it can help settle environmental problems using high technology. Continue reading “Shrimp waste used to make animal feed, biological derivatives”

ASEAN Could Take Lead on Plastic Crisis in Asia

Asia Foundation

April 19, 2017

By John J. Brandon

April 22 marks Earth Day around the globe. I was in 8th grade when Earth Day was first commemorated in 1970, and to mark the day, I participated in annual trash clean-up events at my school. At that time, my world was pretty much the town where I grew up in New Jersey and I didn’t think very much about the rest of the world, I just wanted my neighborhood to be clean. But eight years later, my world expanded when I went to live and work in Bangkok. I vividly remember being struck by the amount of plastic bags, bottles, and wrapping on the streets and in the city’s once-many canals. Now, after four decades of traveling in Southeast Asia, I have witnessed the plague of the plastic bag across pretty much every major city in the region.

Manila Bay garbage

A polluted Manila Bay. It is estimated that some plastic products take more than 400 years to decompose, especially in deep waters. Photo/Flickr user Adam Cohn

Continue reading “ASEAN Could Take Lead on Plastic Crisis in Asia”